Screen NSW, in partnership with Australians in Film, offers directors, producers and writers access to Charlie’s Working Space at The Lot in West Hollywood.
Sydney filmmaker Jayden Rathsam Hua recently returned from his second stint at Charlie’s, using his time there to develop his short, Sushi Noh, into a feature film.
Selected to screen at 30 international and genre film festivals across Australia, Europe and North America, Hua last year formed a production company, Cosmic Scream, with Hugo and Henry Koehne whom he met on the festival circuit. Cosmic Scream will focus on developing elevated horror content across TV, film, online and VR.
Hua first experienced the working space last year when he headed to the Seattle International Film Festival and Palm Springs ShortFest.
“Charlie's was a really grounding and productive experience for me in LA,” Hua says.
“It’s most useful when utilised as a base of operations for Australian creatives to develop their projects given its easy access to meetings in the Hollywood area.
“The office has a super relaxed and breezy vibe and is a great place for Australian creatives to find one another and form connections between meetings. It's also very quiet and accessible, which made it a super appealing hub to hang out throughout my stay.”
Open 24/7, successful applicants receive access to a dedicated desk and decked-out writers’ room to conduct meetings, collaborate and network.
Hua says the strong connections across the local Australian filmmaking community was priceless and the hosts helped him to not get overwhelmed with the business side of the industry.
“The most valuable calling card to have in the industry is your existing body of work. In many cases, it's a super collaborative experience, so meeting people at a similar career stage who share similar passions, tastes, and capacity to learn is a super rewarding way to advance your career and output,” he says.
“Working at Charlie's was a helpful reminder of the importance of focusing on one thing at a time - giving your projects the time they deserve to breathe and develop organically... and most importantly preserving the joy in your work.
“While racking up contacts and getting a broad understanding of the players in the industry landscape is best suited to a mixer event, Charlie's offers deeper and more intimate access to local Australian filmmaking talent and more time afforded to suss out creative chemistry between one another.”
Feeling relaxed and less hindered than back home, Hua relished the opportunity to work with other creatives while at Charlie’s, without the fear of competing for the same piece of the pie.
“Being displaced in another city on the other side of the globe can eclipse the competitive spirit or defensiveness that can come from navigating the creative industry on the domestic level,” he says.
“The camaraderie of finding fellow Australians overseas, the novelty of hearing your own accent in LA has a wonderful effect of breaking down barriers and spotlighting the community spirit of filmmaking.
His advice for other people thinking of applying for Charlie’s was simple: “It's ideal for your projects to have developed to a stage where you'd be comfortable with chatting about it with fellow creatives,” Hua says.
“While Charlie's is a great place to chip away at your work in private, sharing ideas and throwing spaghetti at the wall with the people you'll meet can have a profound effect on your development.
“It's also very helpful to schedule your meetings before making the trip out to the US to take advantage of the contacts in town.”
The inaugural Australian Childrens Content Summit will take place on the mid north coast of New South Wales in Coffs Harbour from 29 August.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this article contains references to and names of deceased persons.